Chris Froome faces ban from cycling after failed drugs test

British cyclist was found to have double the amount of asthma drug Salbutamol in his system at the Vuelta a Espana

Chris Froome failed drugs test Vuelta a Espana
Team Sky’s Chris Froome celebrates winning the 2017 Vuelta a Espana 
(Image credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

British cyclist Chris Froome failed a drugs test at the Vuelta a Espana in September after he was found to have had elevated levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol in his system.

A joint investigation by The Guardian and Le Monde revealed the Team Sky rider had double the permitted 1,000 nanograms per millilitre of in a urine test.

The sport’s governing body, the UCI, is seeking an explanation. Froome says it is “absolutely right” to question the results.

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He said: “It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms [always within the permissible limits] and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey.

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“My asthma got worse at the Vuelta so I followed the team doctor’s advice to increase my Salbutamol dosage. As always, I took the greatest care to ensure that I did not use more than the permissible dose.

“I take my leadership position in my sport very seriously. The UCI is absolutely right to examine test results and, together with the team, I will provide whatever information it requires.”

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “There are complex medical and physiological issues which affect the metabolism and excretion of Salbutamol. We’re committed to establishing the facts and understanding exactly what happened on this occasion.

“I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol. Of course, we will do whatever we can to help address these questions.”

Should the test result be upheld, Froome could face a long ban and have to forfeit his Vuelta title. He could also miss next year’s Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

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In a statement, the UCI confirmed Froome was notified of an “adverse analytical finding” on 20 September, but he would not face a mandatory provisional suspension.

“The analysis of the B sample has confirmed the results of the rider’s A sample and the proceedings are being conducted in line with the UCI anti-doping rules,” it said.

“As a matter of principle, and while not required by the world anti-doping code, the UCI systematically reports potential anti-doping rule violations via its website when a mandatory provisional suspension applies.

“Pursuant to article 7.9.1. of the UCI anti-doping rules, the presence of a specified substance such as salbutamol in a sample does not result in the imposition of such mandatory provisional suspension against the rider.”

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